Farrah Al-Dujaili brought her brand Oddical to IJL in 2017 as part of our leading initiative, KickStart. This career-boosting platform takes emerging brands and designer-makers and gives them the opportunity to learn, network, grow and exhibit at the UK’s leading jewellery industry trade show for a fraction of the cost.
Here, Farrah shares her opinion of KickStart and explains how the IJL Journey has supported her business in its early stages.
Q. What was your overall impression of KickStart and how did it help your business in its early stages?
Exhibiting at IJL with the support from the KickStarter team was a real industry seal of approval for Oddical. It showed that industry experts believed Oddical had to potential to succeed as a business. That helped visitors to the stand appreciate the collection that little bit more than if I had taken a stand independently.
The training they provided in the run up to the show was also really valuable to me and it’s something I can take into the future when exhibiting at future trade shows. When in conversation with potential new stockists it was a real boost to be able to say I was part of KickStarter and invite them to visit. It was a wonderful environment to have that first contact with stockists.
Q. Being a KickStarter does involve investing in the cost of a shared stand at IJL 2018 – what would you say to people who are worried about taking the leap?
I think investing to take part in any trade show is always a big commitment, one you have no way of knowing will pay off. What I liked about being a KickStarter is that along with that investment you had industry support and guidance. The training day before the show was so useful in getting prepared for the show.
I felt free to email all the KickStart team and ask as many questions as I needed afterward. The industry recognition and visibility for the KickStarters in press leading up to the show, is so much more than what you would get doing it alone. You also get the support and friendship from the other KickStarters that is so valuable during the process. It was great knowing there were nine other KickStarters going through the same thing, especially during the late nights leading up to the show!
Q. What did you enjoy most about the three days of IJL 2017 in September?
I admit I was nervous the first day but everyone I met was so friendly and genuinely interested. I loved having the opportunity to talk about my collection and seeing reactions to the pieces. I came back with contacts that I believe I either wouldn’t have gotten or that would have taken longer to create.
It seemed like there was a mixture of stockists, stylists, press, jewellers and service providers (I made a contact with Shapeways, my 3D printing company) visiting the show and wanting to meet us. Receiving the Editors’ Choice ‘Designer to Watch’ came as such a surprise.
I’m proud to say Oddical jewellery is unusual and for the judges to celebrate that and predict success for the future was such a confidence boost. I came home feeling the show was a success for me.
Q. How can future KickStarters capitalise on their IJL Journey and the IJL experience? What would be your advice?
As soon as you know you have been selected start planning your time, the months fly by! Decide what you want to achieve at the show. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to launch a new collection.
Research potential stockists and get in touch with them, tell existing stockists you’re involved. Talk about it on all your social media, you want to create a buzz about it so that you get the most visitors to your stand. Use the IJL website for information – I was constantly checking what tasks I should be doing and when. Reply to all the team’s emails asking for images or information as it’s such valuable PR. I also recommend applying for the Trends Catwalk (I had so many people come find me because of the piece they saw on the catwalk). Basically be as visible as you possibly can!
Q. How did KickStart help you on your journey to success?
KickStart gave me the perfect platform to launch new additions to my collection and get in touch with stockists that I wanted to work with; it gave me more confidence sending those initial emails. It helped me secure multiple stockists and created great PR for Oddical.
I believe it made approaching stockists and securing them easier as it gave me the perfect environment for those meetings and gave stockists confidence in me as a brand. Receiving the NAJ ‘KickStart of the Year’ Award again feels like a huge seal of approval from the industry and helps to establish Oddical as one to watch.
Q. Finally, how is your jewellery industry career or brand progressing and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I am extremely happy with how Oddical is progressing as a brand after a little over twelve months since launching. A lot of the goals I had set out for myself at the start of the year I have achieved and it has all helped to strengthen my ambition to make Oddical a successful jewellery brand.
I’m excited to say Oddical will be stocked with Young British Designers in early 2018 so I will be working hard towards that. I will then focus on developing and launching the second collection. I will also be launching a precious metal range of ‘ultra mini’ pieces created from sections of my most popular designs for people who want the quirky Oddical style but on a much smaller scale.
Over the course of 2018 I plan to build on my current stockists and hope to have Oddical stocked with high-end fashion retailers and increase the awareness of the brand on social media and in the fashion press. I’m determined to make 2018 even more successful for Oddical than 2017!
To read more terms and conditions about KickStart, please click here.
What is the IJL Journey?
As part of our IJL 365 approach, the IJL Journey extends far beyond our three-day trade event. It offers myriad career-boosting benefits, including a mentoring package, workshop days, ongoing pricing, branding and marketing support, and introductions to key industry figures.
This invaluable advice prepares each Bright Young Gem, KickStarter and Design Gallery Exhibitor to meet the 9,000 strong jewellery audience at IJL 2018, from September 2-4.
IJL is #withyou offering career opportunities and the chance to grow your jewellery business, whether you are a student, recent graduate, emerging brand or established player. Speak to our team to find out more.
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Images by Garazi Photography